Sunday, September 19, 2021

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Send them to Pete at: ReleaseNotes@
comicbase.com
 

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Atomic Avenue  

Atomic Avenue Learns Some Cool New Tricks

We’ve been in “web development mode” for a couple of months now, with lots of nights and weekends spent thrashing on different systems. We’re actually in the midst of rewriting the ComicBase.com web site, giving it a real shopping cart, user account pages, order tracking, and lots of other stuff that’s been on our wishlist for ages. With any luck, the new system will be ready shortly.

At the same time, we got a chance recently to add some incredibly useful new features to Atomic Avenue. With the system now featuring some 560,000 comics—more than six times the number of comics as all of eBay’s auctions combined—we’ve been working hard to find new ways to make it even easier to find the comics you want.

Seller Listings Are Now Searchable

Here’s the typical scenario: you find a great deal on that missing issue of Justice League, but you’d like to maybe see if the same seller has some other books you want so you can combine the order and save on the shipping. But when you clicked on the seller’s name to view their inventory, you could often be greeted with dozens or hundreds of pages of listings to wade through.

Now, when you go to a seller’s inventory page, you can type in all or part of title’s name you’re looking for, and see the seller’s available inventory for that title. This has probably been our #1 most requested feature since the system began.

Search Seller

Bonus tip: Are you a seller and want to showcase your inventory for a given title? Do the same search on your own inventory and copy the browser location with search string that appears. This can be used as a hyperlink on your own pages or announcements to lead users straight to those listings.

“Other Issues from this seller” when you add an item to your cart.

When you find an issue you want and add it to your cart, you’ll get a quick preview of other issues of the same title which are available from the same seller.

Cover Pictures in the Title Listings

I’ll admit it: I thought that adding cover to the title’s main issue listings was going to be a bunch of eye candy. OK, it does look spectacular, but as soon as we got it working, we realized how incredibly useful it was to have the thumbnails there to let you instantly sight in on the issue you’re looking for. It’s also wonderful for variant identification and finding special issues.

Inventory

 

Inventory Overview and Guide Pricing in the Title Listings

You’ll also see that the title listings now also give an overview of how many copies are available of each issue, as well as the lowest-priced copy. This is great for spotting deals, especially when you compare it to the Comics Buyer’s Guide NM Guide Price displayed directly above.

Speed Improvements

Naturally, I write this knowing full well that I’m jinxing myself by encouraging a deluge of users to hit the system at once to see how fast it is. That said, the two most-trafficked pages on the site: the Title Listings and Issue Detail screens are now noticeably faster to load due to a host of optimizations and speed-ups. Give it a shot: we were getting some terrific speed readings this weekend, and I think you’ll find the system as a whole more responsive.

 

Watch this space: there’s more to come soon!

-Pete

 


Funniest Registration Card Comment

Some much-needed levity arrived in the mail yesterday.

In response to our traditional question, “Would you recommend ComicBase to a friend?” we just got a card in with the response: “I read comic books. I have no friends.”

 


John Simpson: 1956–2007

Simpson was Here

This morning, I got a call I’d been dreading for some time: my friend John Simpson died Tuesday night from the effects of mesothelioma. He’d been diagnosed with it about four years ago, and even then it was essentially inoperable. Blessedly, he’d been able to stay up and around until quite recently, and he’d be sure to fly out from Tennessee to California each Wondercon and Comic-Con. There, we’d get a chance to hang out, catch up, and he’d always insist on helping us set up, tear down, and even pull booth duty in between walking the floor and attending panels.

I’d known John since ComicBase 3’s release some nine years ago. A bug report he sent in led to a series of email exchanges between us. This in turn led to me inviting him over to the house for lasagna when I heard he was coming into town for Wondercon. John (and I know it would embarrass him to have me say it), was a real Southern Gentleman, and over the years…from comic show to comic show…we got to be great friends.

John and NeilJohn and Neil at Wondercon 2004

 

Last spring, John made me promise to publish the following when he died. It’s a love letter to his friends in comic fandom, where he’d spent so many of his happiest years.

Farewell John. I miss you a lot.

 

Ruminations on a life well spent with comics!

Electrifying announcement! Hawkman joins the Justice League!  Justice League of America #31, “Riddle of the Runaway Room!”  Gardner, Mike, Bernard and Julie in their prime.  Likely my first (of many, many more) Julie Schwartz edited comics, autographed by him and with me always.

Many an enjoyable turn scorekeeping for Quizmaster Emeritus Jim Hay at the San Diego Pro Fan Trivia Challenge.  Greetings effendi from your faithful Indian companion..

Being the first customer of George and Dorothy Tuska to buy a sketch for a friend at their first convention in San Diego, we all learned together how to do it.  Years later, I bought his great Marvel heroes montage at an AACC dinner.  Dorothy was thrilled!

Mark Evanier, panel moderator and blogger extraordinaire.

Harlan Ellison – a treasure, a jewel, a master.

Denny O’Neil – from being tongue tied the first time I met him at my local comic shop to easily bantering with him in a Wonder Con elevator (Oakland days) – I finally got over being shy.

Dave Siegel – he can find anyone, anywhere – Thanks for all the great creators we met because of you.

Gene and Adrianne Colan, a great artist, a great lady and a great team – and even better friends.

Jim Johnson – scary how often I agree with his reviews.  Spooky when we realized that Chicago ComicCon in ’81 was the first big con for each of us.

Tom Galloway and his never ending quest to out geek the Purple Prose and Mark Waid in trivia.

Maggie – a lady of particular distinction, and a friend.

Ray Bradbury – still as sharp as a tack and feisty as ever.

Neal Adams – I came of age reading his comics.

The Great Escape of Nashville, TN – Gary and Peggy Walker, Shawn Hamilton, Todd Furhman, Susan Burch, Mike Stephens and the dedicated staff. of My Only Comic Shop – EVER!  The World’s Greatest Comic Shop!

Taking a “vacation” to the Bay Area and ending up spending a day laboring as a goon helping to move Human Computing/ComicBase to their new offices.  But I was fed well.

ComicBase booth babes – Shiaw-Ling, Loretta, and Candace.

CoimcBase beef cake? – Andrew and Mark.

Carl the Sub-Mariner- refreshing to know someone who actually has more comics than I do.

Finally cataloging my collection in ComicBase – what a great feeling – but even better was becoming great friends with Pete, Carolyn, Neil and Kelly

My polaroid from ‘96 with Julie Schwartz and Gil Kane, taken by my best comics pal.

Rich Morrissey – thanks so much for bringing John and Peggy Broome to San Diego.  Rest well!
.
Synchronicity – finally getting to tell Elliot S! Maggin how much I enjoyed his novel adaptation of Kingdom Come and sharing with him (and his genuine interest in) a brief passage from the Citizen Wayne chapter to be used in my funeral service.  The opportunity to meet him was because of our attendance at the Julius Schwartz memorial panel in San Diego in ’04.

“He had many luxuries, but the greatest of them was knowing where he belonged in the world, and knowing that was where he was.”
--Kingdom Come, inscribed by Elliot and with me always.

John Simpson, 1956-2007

 


Adventures in Endodonty

I’m guessing the chances are that a handful of folks have any idea what this posting is about, (and they’re probably wincing a bit). As I learned yesterday, the orthodontist is the person who put the braces around your teeth when you were a kid…and the endodontist is the person who does work inside your teeth—namely a root canal—when a tooth fractures into a nerve ending, causing you to experience “some discomfort” in dentist-speak.

(“Some discomfort” in my case involved driving around San Jose in a pain craze looking in vain for some grocery store or phamacy that was open. After an hour of this, I got back home, thought clearly enough to google up “24 hour pharmacy San Jose” and discovered a Walgreens a few miles away that was open. 10 minutes later, open bottle of Orajel in hand, I was saying a prayer of thanks to the inventors of Benzocaine [as it turns out, Ritsert Pharmaceutical, 1902]. Thanks, folks!).

Seven hours later, my dentist was expanding my medical vocabulary and recommending me on to a Dr. Michael McKee, endodontist. I have to say, Dr. McKee was a pro, and I’d highly recommend him to anyone who’d just had a night like I did. He was personable, efficient, and made sure I understood everything he was about to do the moment before it happened.

In particular, I admired two things about the procedure: early on, he must have noticed me twinge a bit. He asked if I felt anything, and I did my best to wave it off as no big deal (it really wasn’t). He then immediately gave me more anaesthetic in the area so that I really couldn’t feel a thing afterward. I’ve had dentists ask if something hurt when they did their thing, but this is the first time I can recall one actually doing something about it.

Secondly, I couldn’t help but admire his “tradecraft”. Prior to the initial drilling, he said, “I need you to close your eyes for this part”. My first thought was, “Hey, what kind of wuss does he think I am?”, but as I closed them anyway and smelled burning enamel, I realized that he’d wisely known that this was something a patient wasn’t likely to want to witness. Also, he and his assistant were careful to keep the tray of instruments (and discards) above my eye level. Nice touch.

45 minutes later I was up, on my feet, and signing my Visa slip. Although I could have bought each of the next gen game consoles with the fee I just paid, I don’t begrudge him it at all. He did a great job, my mouth feels fine now, and frankly the cost was about as much as I paid to have someone come in and install our network firewall. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.